Craig Scott’s Lobotomy – War is a Racket

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Like the soundtrack to a deranged tale fed on Tim Burton’s vision of Alice in Wonderland and soaked in the lunacy of a Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, War is a Racket is one of those propositions which simply send ears and imagination into overload. Created by Craig Scott’s Lobotomy, the album is a kaleidoscope of sounds and textures uniting in a fascinating and warped adventure, whilst Craig Scott himself is the aural Willy Wonka, offering sonic and melodic candy created from the tang of discord and sweetness of insanity.

A bordering on psychotic tapestry of experimental jazz, alternative rock, and similarly unpredictable electronica, album and sound casts ears and thoughts adrift in a sea of instrumental incitement. Every track is a unique vehicle for the imagination to go on a creative rampage with yet they also all contribute to a perpetual flight through one fluid and invigoratingly bedlamic soundscape. War is a Racket has been three years in the making, drawing on influences, experiences, and the things Scott has learned during his life to date as a professional musician involved in numerous diverse projects. The result of everything combined is a debut album which dangles bait after bait of startling sound and seriously intriguing unconnected essences, all united in a creative toxicity which just gets deep under the skin to set off a lustful reaction in ears, thoughts, and ardour.

The previous years has seen Scott play regularly with the likes of ‘Shatner’s Bassoon’ , IKESTRA , CottonWoolf, The Bugalu Foundation, and The Hot Beef Three as well as perform with artists such as Tom Arthurs, Baba Adasose Wallace, Matthew Borne , John Potter (Hilliard Ensemble),Chris Sharkey (Trio VD/Shiver), Ball-Zee(UK Beatbox Champion) Jean Tousaint (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers) , Les Smith (Cradle of Filth), and Ruby Wood (Submotion Orchestra , Bonobo). His music has grabbed the ears and support of fellow musicians like Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart / Jeff Buckley) amongst a growing horde of fans which also includes cult horror classic House of 1000 Corpses’ Bill Moseley. Anticipation for War is a Racket has certainly been more than keen but it is now with its release that it is easy to expect major awareness embracing its creator.

a4033067006_2    The album, which sees Scott accompanied by a plethora of skilled and inventive talent, opens with Gibbles and a distant wistful melody. The ear is soon under the temptation of dark double bass slaps and bass clarinet seduction though; they in turn courted by a web of brass teasing. A jazzy air soon takes on an exotic flavour through guitar and sax, excited elements entwining for a sultry and mouth-watering dance through Arabian avenues and more Caribbean spiced festivity. All the time though there is a tempering shadow, an underlying turbulence which brews up a danger with fresh seeds for thoughts to twist and redesign its visual landscape with. The nearer its conclusion the more unravelled the track and its calm becomes as it takes the listener into the sonic distortion and percussive bubbling of Proud to be a Mirkin. The second song also brings a brass fuelled agitation aligned to a sinister electronic stalking of the psyche. It is the stuff of dark dreams, though as hindsight will eventually show, just the start of bigger nightmarish intrusions to come.

Peace returns with Tempest in a Teacup next, a nine minute stroll through summer gardens and reflective atmospheres. Of course already, even on the first listen of the album, expectations are soon expecting darker warped twists too and it does not disappoint, though equally the track sets senses and emotions ablaze with a deliciously manic melodic enterprise equipped with mischievous hooks and perverted imagination. Like something from Brian Brain in a drug induced stupor, the track ebbs and flows with bright revelry and noir clad infestations of ears and thoughts. Ultimately though, you come away with feet bouncing and emotions leaping to that devilish jazz pop lure and the emerging gypsy/world music spicing which has a distinct Les Négresses Vertes feel to it.

The following Technicolor Yawn is a brighter and relatively straight forward hug of the senses, initially at least as of course it too has contrasting and darker flirtations of sound and invention to its gentle cruise. Guitars and synths collude to colour the elegant canvas with shards of seemingly improvised jazz incitement, each nudge and jab of sound a tempting spark to new diversions or characters in the imagination’s interpretation. Almost a travelogue of unique lands and atmospheres on its own, the transfixing pieces makes way for the climactic and psychotic For those with a Short Attention Span. The track is a splatter of sounds and textures which somehow within the ears unite to create a coherent if still furiously unpredictable weave of sonic colour. As all the tracks it leaves a pantry load of food for thought before making way for the irresistible lures of Voodoo Friday. Rhythmically tribal and virulent, the track opens like a thumping ‘sketch’ from percussionists Stomp, but is soon embracing darker strains of sound and harmonies. Its persuasion is meditative and demonic simultaneously, the perpetual invitation from tablas, matched by grouchy bass sounds and a swarming cloud of brass and stringed fermentation which only add to the psychedelic Hammer Movie-esque visualisation inspired across the glorious encounter. Its closing romp reminds of deranged versions of eighties bands like Pigbag and Mouth, that alone leaving ears and emotions basking.

The album’s title track comes next and swiftly returns the listener physically and mentally to the dark clutches of haunted realms and sinister trespasses. Keys impact with a classic thirties/forties lilt to their narrative whilst rhythmically and harmonically, the track is a web of ravenous shadows and psyche grasping evocation. The bewitching nightmare prevails with increasing sideshow devilry as the song continues its descriptive presence, reaching a restrained yet ‘hellish’ climax taunted by crooner inspired keys. The drama and air of the song is traumatic and seriously compelling just as the lighter but no less drenched in espionage album finale of Ormchestron. Opening like the theme tune to a sixties spy/thriller TV show, keys dangling inescapable bait for the imagination, the piece becomes a much cloudier and thematically minatory adventure yet with a constant tempering of melodic and inventive whimsy. The brass escapades brings hints of Essential Logic to thoughts whilst strings and keys offer a Cardiacs like devilment, but ultimately, as War is a Racket itself, it is all wholly individual to Craig Scott’s Lobotomy.

It is fair and easy to say that War is a Racket is quite brilliant, maybe not something for everyone but for those with real adventure and love of life’s and music’s discordance woven into something truly unique, simply a must.

War is a Racket is available through Wasp Millionaire Records from 30/03/2015 on CD, 12” Blue vinyl (Ltd to 250 copies) and digitally.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Craig-Scotts-Lobotomy/102612563153288   http://lookatmemummypr.com/

RingMaster 30/03/2015

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Strange Nocturnal – Best Of Strange Nocturnal

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Listening to the sounds of UK goth rock band Strange Nocturnal is like aurally exploring the pages of classic visual incitements like The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Tales from the Crypt, and House of Mystery. As shown by their new release though, their sound and drama comes with a just as rich industrial, metal, and horror punk flavouring to produce dark tales with a voracious snarl and ferocity bred from the visceral climate of the modern world. A collection of tracks released between 2009 and 2011, Best Of Strange Nocturnal is a full adventure for the senses and imagination, and it gives ears a pretty good time too.

Strange Nocturnal is the brainchild and originally solo project of Cumbrian musician/composer/producer Strange Nocturnal. From 2011 the band become full line-up wise and swiftly unleashed their debut album Party With The Dead. A host of varied releases have haunted the psyche since, the acoustically driven Halloween Is Never Really Over, the cinematic and dark ambient instrumental exploits of Undead Decadence, and the abrasing exploration of Cumbrian Gothic some open examples of the diversity within the world of Strange Nocturnal. Released via Undead Artists, Best of… teases and seduces, haunts and violates senses and thoughts to provide a macabre blood strewn soundscape.

This Halloween starts the adventure off, its immediately sinister air drawing the listener into a melodically gothic embrace wrapped in lurking and menacing shadows. Extending its intimidating arms soon after, the track grows into a light exhausting stalking of the senses, its hungry presence at ease whether prowling or charging through ears. There is a Tim Burton meets Rob Zombie meets Godflesh feel to the track, its crunchy textures offset by the siren-esque tones of female crafted harmonies.

The captivating start is continued by There Are Ghouls and Ghost’s, a sample of Vincent Price the gateway into an infectious stroll which in turn builds into a fiery turbulence. The vocals of Strange Nocturnal as in the first and subsequent tracks, come clad in smoggy effect but with plenty of room for a variation to show its lures. White Zombie like in many ways but also holding a great essence of Fad Gadget to its bracing charm, the song swings with a rhythmic revelry which infects grooves and melodies. The increasingly contagious blaze is followed by the addictive stalking of Curse of the Werewolf. Again there is an infectious bait at the heart of the song which makes its rhythmic and spicy hooks irresistible whilst around them the air is tempestuous and coarsely hazy, a fuzzy causticity which at times also ignites the potent vocals. Thoughts of The Shanklin Freak Show emerge as the song radiates its temptation and proceeds to prowl with diversely flavoured mystical spicery.

The Undead March instantly has ears and emotions hooked next, its great repetitive striding the first lure in an addictive predation. Vocals are once more wrapped in an insidious effect but undiluted in the virulence of their lead to and part of the full seduction of the song. Holding a whiff of Ministry to its irrepressible persuasion, the track is ridiculously compelling, something the musty metallic tones of The Bitch Was a Witch cannot quite match but with its serpentine breath and smoggy textures, the song makes the most of its moment to tantalise ears. For personal tastes the vocals are over immersed in the oppressive intensity of the music, a small thing which could be raised a few times across the band’s sound in general, but it easily has appetite keen and ready for the next up Fancy Death Party. Fuelled with a great blues winery with southern rock kissed harmonica, the song is another with a devilish swagger to its gait and magnetic toxicity to its sound.

The dark crawl and insidious temptation of She’s My Graveyard Ghoul-Friend has the imagination walking a toxic romance whilst Without Your Head provides a deranged maelstrom of emotion and voices within industrial filtered gothic metal corrosiveness. Though neither lives up to the biggest pinnacles of the collection, each with an underlying catchiness and adventurous climate has ears and thoughts fully engaged before the tempestuous slow waltz of Party With the Dead takes over. The song is a temptress with mercury running through its veins and demonic elegance soaking every melody and harmony on a bed of dark rhythms and imposing intensity lorded over by Strange Nocturnal’s satanic vocals.

The album is completed by the rasping Luciferian tones of Loving You From Beyond This Grave, the track Poe-esque in its dark radiance and fiendish in its industrial/noise sculpted causticity, and lastly The Crow’s Are Calling. The closing track has a devilry and mischievous tempting to its frequently shifting enterprise, an enslaving devilment which could be described as Doctors of Madness and Zombina And The Skeletones being violated by the raw ferocity of Young Gods.

Though there are understandably favourites which stand out and an ebbing and flowing of potency across songs, all tracks across Best Of…provide an enthralling and dramatic glimpse into the creative tempest of Strange Nocturnal, band and artist. The thoroughly enjoyable album is inspired by the darkest corners and emotions with the potential and a black seduction which could ignite the brightest fires in the imagination or spark the worst rapacity in your nightmares.

Best Of Strange Nocturnal is available now via Undead Artists @ http://strangenocturnal.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-strange-nocturnal

https://www.facebook.com/thestrangenocturnalband

RingMaster 03/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mr. Strange – The Wonderful World Of Weird

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Just to prove that insanity can be the sweetest potent seduction The Wonderful World Of Weird is here to exploit and uncover the darkest secrets of your mind whilst travelling the exotic and dangerous mental halls of its creator Mr. Strange. The former frontman of the UK’s greatest still to be truly discovered musical mutants The Shanklin Freak Show, though he is still healthily involved in the band, Mr. Strange voraciously stalks the senses and emotions with his fourth album. It is a release which soundtracks a bedlam of sound and adventure from a quite maniacal imagination.

The Isle Of Wight hailing songwriter/producer/vocalist/musician began his musical exploration as ‘The Mad DJ’ in 1998 before emerging as Mr. Strange in 2006. He founded circus rock/steampunk band The Shanklin Freak Show in 2003, guiding the band as songwriter and vocalist up until starting an extended break from performing live at the end of 2011. Alongside The Shanklin Freak Show albums including Act II – The Light Fantastic of 2009 and Welcome To The Show of 2011, a few other projects, and producing a couple of albums by Global Citizen, Mr. Strange unleashed his solo musical rapaciousness. Sounds From The Asylum came first to be followed in 2011 by the releases of The Fall and Freakshow, the last a 38 track retrospective album chronicling the songs that he wrote under the Shanklin Freak Show name  which included new, unreleased, and re-recorded or re-mixed tracks. Now the sanity puppeteer steps forward again with the magnificent temptation of The Wonderful World Of Weird, the finest Mr. Strange musical and mental examination yet.

With more flavours than a giant box of Jelly Bellies, the album is a dramatic and exhilarating flight through the darkest yet 555928_584429381594861_1695733989_nmagnetically and vibrantly compelling mind of the fictional character of its creator, employing everything and anything from industrial and steampunk to gothic rock and progressive metal, and that is just scratching the surface. With many of the tracks co-written with Gary ‘Stench’ Mason, The Shanklin Freak Show guitarist and provider of the majority of the guitar invention across the release, the album immediately lures in senses and imagination with the opening spoken narrative leading in the title track. It instantly intrigues as the scene setting premise strolls into the irresistible stomp of the song. Rhythms bounce around with a heavy mischievous gait matched by the electro and bass taunting whilst the guitar casts lines of sonic and melodic bait which is pure infectious toxicity. Best described as Dr. Jekyll meets ICP as early Marilyn Mansion helps Victor Frankenstein create aural life for them to toy with upon a set designed by Willy Wonka, the track is a delicious fascination and the first irresistible hint of the lunacy to come.

Creating the World is an expansion to the landscape previously crafted with a gentle psychedelic ambience washing the dawning scenery. It is a mesmeric, almost meditative soaring of harmonies and guitar elegance with rubs of dub and scratching teasing the riveting flight. The seducing continues right up to the doorway into the Psycho Surfing-A-Go-Go, one of the major pinnacles upon the album. Again as between numerous songs, the narrator lays down an invitation before the surf rock contagion drops its shoulders and swerves through the ear with irrepressible virulence. The grooves enslave the passions within seconds whilst the rhythmic dance only builds a cage for rapture to breed within as fire kissed keys add smouldering lures to the hot and epidemically addictive romp of sonic lava. The song is one of the best heard anywhere this year; a beach party in the mind of Hunter S. Thompson hosted by The Cramps and The Bomboras with Two Wounded Birds, B52s, and The Revillos adding extra entertainment.

From the dark sinister realm of The World’s Dark Heart, Mr. Strange lurks in the steampunk/industrial graced world of Metropolis 2984, a track which equally extends some classic metal and psyche sculpted imagination to its captivating persuasion. There is a swing and energy to the track which infects feet and emotions but equally an underlying dark tone beneath the celestially soaring harmonies which suggest more 1984 than Fritz Lang. Again the album and artist has the listener in a tight grip of pleasure and suasion, though it never slipped from the first breath of the album to be fair, which tightens with firstly Clockwork Man and explodes through Fire. The first of the two stalks the ears with the drama and theatre of a Tim Burton vision sculpted by the melodic ingenuity of Danny Elfman, though it has to be noted that every song despite the references sound like no one but Mr. Strange. This masterful manipulation of the senses and passions is soon left in the shade by its successor, the track another major peak in nothing but highs. The song is the closest to a Shanklin Freak Show tune that the album gets, its sexy tango pulsating mouth-watering foreplay for the beats and funk bred keys to add intoxicating spice to. There is something familiar to the hooks and stomp of the song aside from the earlier comparison, but it is indefinable and wholly galvanic.

Through the noir shadows of Don’t Stay (Where the Dead Ones Lay) with its jazz smooching funk lined temptation and the excellent gothic majesty of White Rabbit, the song reminding of The Damned at times, The Wonderful World Of Weird intensifies its resistance free toxin whilst the electro swing heart of Exile and the psychedelia soaked gothic tempting of Anti-Christ only spark further flames of lustful submission to the call of the release and its psychotic beauty. Every song is a wanton temptress in whatever guise and sonic clothing they frequent, and though admittedly hopes and expectations were of big things from Mr. Strange on past successes, the album left those assumptions insultingly short of the brilliant reality.

Completed by the classically crafted Journeys End, an enchanting epilogue if not to the levels of what came before, The Wonderful World Of Weird is pure certifiable aural manna. The CD version also has a track exclusive to its version, a very enjoyable cover of the Dr. Steel track We Decide. The able shows that there is only one Mr. Strange and his form of weird, one you can charter a sensational cruise through via our favourite album of the year, The Wonderful World Of Weird, that is if you are brave or eccentric enough.

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com/

10/10

RingMaster 28/11/2013

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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